Irey divorce saga continues in appellate court

January 29, 2013

The court battle between a Washington County commissioner and her ex-husband, chairman of the council of trustees of California University of Pennsylvania, has moved to a higher court.

Superior Court on Tuesday docketed Judge John DiSalle’s 16-page opinion and set briefing schedules for attorneys representing Robert Irey, who is the university trustee, and Diana Irey Vaughan, vice chairman of the board of county commissioners.

Robert Irey appealed DiSalle’s finding that he was in willful contempt of a court order that he comply with a voluntary marital settlement agreement.

DiSalle found that Robert Irey was in “willful contempt” of a court order and that he had violated a marriage settlement agreement by failing to provide financially for his ex-wife and children’s education. She claimed that her ex-husband’s actions, or lack of action, was damaging her credit rating.

During the course of the litigation, Robert Irey twice filed for bankruptcy, withdrawing one of the actions.

“As was clear after the hearing, (Robert Irey) continues to live the same lavish lifestyle as he did before the divorce,” DiSalle wrote. He “had purchased a new BMW automobile, has remarried, was living in an upscale townhouse in the South Side of Pittsburgh and still owned interests in several different properties and assets … Despite his significant education, engineering degree and work experience involving owning and operating various business, (Robert Irey) has failed to obtain gainful employment of any kind over the past four years.”

In the opinion, DiSalle noted that he has recused himself, or stepped aside from hearing the case. It has been reassigned to an out-of-county judge.

Robert Irey had long sought to have another judge assigned to the case, noting that his ex-wife supported and contributed to the political campaign of DiSalle, a Democrat who won a Republican nomination in 2005.

Robert Irey’s attorney, William A. Brandstatter II, asked DiSalle to remove himself from the case, claiming that commissioners exercise control over judicial salaries, which are set by the state.

“Due to recent events within Washington County unrelated to this case, this court has witnessed efforts of the county commissioners to attempt to influence the judiciary. Therefore, this court has reconsidered its position,” wrote DiSalle, who is no longer hearing Children and Youth Services cases in Washington County Court.

DiSalle had a full calendar and courtroom Tuesday, and he could not be reached immediately for comment.

The Ireys separated in 2007 and they were divorced a year later.

Diana Irey remarried in 2010, becoming Diana Irey Vaughan. She filed a quit claim with Washington County Court to remove her name from the deed of their home in Carroll Township, but her name remained on the mortgage, a separate legal document, said her attorney, Christopher Blackwell.

Their former home on Diane Drive was foreclosed upon, and it was sold at sheriff’s sale in September to the mortgage holder, Community Bank.

Robert Irey claims he was evicted from the home, which has been advertised for sale for the past several months.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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